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Border Collie Photographed at Home

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, March 15, 2016


When I first met Dexter he was in his kennel on the verandah and I think his preference would have been to stay there and have a snooze. Afterall, he had just returned home from a vigorous run in the park.

This handsome dog is the first red and white Border Collie I have seen. My first impression of him was how perfectly his colouring complemented the tessellated tiles and tuck pointed bricks of his Victorian home. It was as if they were designed for each other. 

Photographing this gentle dog presented something of a challenge as Dexter was not too keen on being my subject. His inclination was to roll onto his back into a submissive pose and look up with pleading eyes hoping for a tummy rub. His ploy did work and he managed to elicit quite a few from both his owner Ann and from the old softy behind the camera.

I tried my usual tricks of using various noises to attract his attention but he was on to me after the first one. Intelligently he understood the game and despite my very best efforts, refused to respond further to my verbal and physical antics. Even offering him liver treats didn't rouse his interest.

Dexter is a rescued dog who came from an neglectful situation in Queensland to join a caring home in Melbourne. From his reactions to sudden movements, brooms and even cameras it would seem that he was abused as a puppy and it has taken him some time to develop trust in people.

He certainly adores Ann though and looks to her for guidance and queues to follow. He has a gentle personality and never barks or jumps up on people so is a pleasure to have around. He is a lucky dog to have found such a loving family to live with.


Dexter is a very smart dog and seems to understand specific words extremely well. He reacted with enthusiasm when Ann mentioned the names of his doggie friends that he meets in the park. I was intrigued that he seemed to understand individual names and respond differently to each of them. In the end it was his excitement over his buddies that brought out his diverse expressions. Fascinating!



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Under Construction

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My favourite subjects to photograph are relationships in all their forms and the special events in people’s lives. Recording these historic moments for others to treasure and remember forever is deeply satisfying and meaningful.

So photographing Usha and Ben at the beginning of a new stage in their lives was indeed a privilege and, may I add, much fun.


Not only is this family in the midst of a complete renovation of their home but they are also soon to introduce a new member into it. A new home, new baby, new family dynamics, new dreams and aspirations. In fact, a new path towards their future together.

Completely at ease with the changes that are taking place around them are their Border Collies Ollie and Ashani. 


Ashani, the independent and bossy 3 year old female dog, has a special relationship with Ben. She loves nothing more than hanging out with him playing frisbee or soccer or being scooped up in his arms and thrown playfully across his lap or around his shoulders.


Ollie is a couple of years older and has a caring and affectionate bond with Usha. During Usha’s pregnancy Ollie has loved resting his head upon her growing belly. His favourite toy is a tennis ball and like Ashani his favourite outing is to the beach. 


I can visualise these two active dogs next summer sharing their excitement of playing on the sand and by the edge of the water with their delighted 6 month old sibling. I can almost hear the giggling and laughter.

These two adored dogs are about to find a whole lot of new love.


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Pet Photographer Lesley ODonnell Wins Professional Awards

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, September 23, 2013
So excited to have won two awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards (AIPP) judged in Melbourne last weekend.

Thanks to my wonderful clients Susan and Steve and their obedient Border Collie Holly and to Callum and Ken and their little Australian Terrier Belle. Without you this would not have been possible.

This image won a SILVER WITH DISTINCTION award at the recent AIPP awards. I love how Holly has such control over her desire to scoop up her ball. It is really impressive that she waits until she is told she can have it.

This other image of concentration scored a SILVER AWARD at the Australian Professional Photography awards. 

You can only enter four images in total so for two of them to come up trumps was a thrill for me.
Susan commented on 24-Sep-2013 09:00 AM
That's fantastic Lesley. Well done!

I am so pleased that Holly has been part of your wonderful achievement. I also love the photo of Belle. What a great shot of a gorgeous little dog.

Kind regards,


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Melbourne Pet Photography - Pets In The City

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A beautiful setting for a portrait of a beautiful family

These three pooches are all gorgeous, gentle souls who recently enjoyed an outing in the city to have their photos taken with their mum and dad, Susan and Steven.

Charlie and Oscar are both Moodles but have totally different personalities and play different roles within the family. Oscar, pictured here with his favourite treat ball is the boss of the trio or perhaps even all five family members.

Cuddly Charlie, whom I am told, loves to suck on the feet of his stuffed hippo showed no interest in it on the day. Too many other interesting things going on - new things to watch, new smells to sniff and new nooks and crannies to explore.

Holly was rescued and has become a vital member of this family. She runs everyday with Steven and like most Border Collies is very smart and happy. She is obsessed with balls but won’t pick one up until she is given the command to do so. I adore this photo of her patiently waiting and keeping her eyes squarely on her desired prize. She also loves to affectionately share kisses with her human companions.

This family will feature in the second edition of Connected Tales, a coffee table book celebrating the relationships between people and their pets. If you would like to feature in this book with your pets, your $95 participation fee will be donated to Animal Aid to assist them with the wonderful work they do rescuing and re-homing dogs and cats. Register here to be part of this worthy project.


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True Companions

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Margaret and Xisca share a deep affection for each other

When she retired Margaret decided the time was right to adopt a lap dog into her family. Being a responsible person she made the decision to choose a dog that needed rehoming and went to Animal Aid in search of her new companion. At the time they had no suitable small dogs but Margaret did not return home alone.

Her heart was stolen by a young border collie who was so scared she couldn’t walk and of course Margaret couldn’t resist rescuing her and introducing her to a happier life. As you can see from this photo there is now a deep love shared between the two and they have become inseparable. 

Xisca loves to play with her ball and in doing so soon turned Margaret’s prized backyard into a dirt run. Nothing a few thousand dollars and brick paving couldn’t fix though! As you can see what she gives to Margaret is way more precious, in fact I would say it is priceless.

Annie commented on 19-Aug-2011 07:50 AM
Wow, what a lovely story and a very lucky dog. I am sure Margaret will have many happy years of love with her new friend and, maybe with a bit of luck, can teach it new tricks and good manners too. Dogs are lovely and very true to you too when treated right as Xisca will be.
Lesley commented on 30-Oct-2011 03:41 PM
Another divine photo Lesley ... it gives me goose bumps when pets and people 'find each other' through the shelter ... thanks for reflecting these relationships so beautifully
Anonymous commented on 12-Oct-2012 10:43 PM
Hi Lesley - Just wanted to let you know that Xisca passed away on 22 September, she was 15-1/2 years old, a wonderful life, we had many loving years and will always be thankful for your photos and the enjoyable day we spent with you last year. Next month mum will be turning 80 and we have reflected on the photos you have taken with much joy. cheers Marita

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Pet Photography - Beach Boy

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, May 20, 2011

Tali having fun in the waves

Once again I have met another beautiful Border Collie called Tali. 

As you can see he had his photo shoot at the beach and although he loves the water he was so well behaved that he didn’t run into it until he was allowed to. Many dogs do not have the self discipline and loyal obedience to wait but Tali was exemplary in both. It's an impressive thing to observe.

Once I had taken all his land based photos he was allowed into the water to play and as you can see he had a terrific time retrieving his ball time after time. Although it was a chilly autumn day he had so much fun and went home wet and covered in sand but content and with a big grin on his face.

It was a fun time for me too and I loved every minute I spent with him.

Annie commented on 08-Jun-2011 12:44 PM
See how they are loved and great to have but not for me although I can enjoy dogs belonging to other people, I don't have to feed and groom them then. Lazy eh!! Great photo though.

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Lessons Well Learnt

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lexi, Bowie and Monty relaxing with Trish

I have to admit that I am really impressed with border collies as a breed of dog. I have photographed several lately and they have all been really gentle, eager to please and retentive of lessons taught. 

This was really evident to me recently when I photographed Trish with her beloved pets at her home. She had a very stylish lounge room with an open fire and we decided that would make a lovely, atmospheric background for the portrait. However it was a room with highly polished timber floors and fine furniture that the animals with their claws were not usually allowed into. 

Lexi, the smaller dog, and Bowie the cat had no issues in breaking these rules but Monty the border collie knew he was not allowed in there and no amount of coaxing could persuade him. Our efforts to break down his training afforded us much laughter but he was steadfast and we had to respect him for that.

So the photos that included Monty had to be taken in the entranceway where he was comfortable, allowed to be and, as you can see from his smile, more than happy to participate. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Anne commented on 20-Nov-2010 09:52 AM
What a lucky lady to have so many lovely pets and that they can all be together in a photo. Cats and dogs don't often mix that well. Just shows what a great dog Monty is and how well trained he is. Love looking at your phots as they are always just soooo good.
nicole lastrina commented on 11-Apr-2011 11:07 PM
hi, i'm the daughter of trish and am sad to say that we lost monty in february this year. He was an amazing dog of 14 years, who lost his battle to a blood disease where we had to make the decision to put him out of his suffering. When i look at the photos leslie took that day, i think of the beautiful dog that we once had that has set the bar for all dogs. We are fortunate enough to still have our little lexi and bowie... who we have poured all our extra love into...i'm so glad we had the chance to show people just how beautiful monty was. He is in our hearts forever.thank you so much to leslie for capturing the true essence of our beautiful babies and i commend you on you're passion...its a beautiful career to pursue xo
nicole lastrina commented on 11-Apr-2011 11:08 PM
hi, i'm the daughter of trish and am sad to say that we lost monty in february this year. He was an amazing dog of 14 years, who lost his battle to a blood disease where we had to make the decision to put him out of his suffering. When i look at the photos leslie took that day, i think of the beautiful dog that we once had that has set the bar for all dogs. We are fortunate enough to still have our little lexi and bowie... who we have poured all our extra love into...i'm so glad we had the chance to show people just how beautiful monty was. He is in our hearts forever.thank you so much to leslie for capturing the true essence of our beautiful babies and i commend you on you're passion...its a beautiful career to pursue xo

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Fun For All

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Janina Schuster - Dog Trainer from Fun4Dogs

Janina from Fun4Dogs arranged for me to photograph her so that she had some great shots for her dog training website. She rang me excitedly to let me know that she had arranged for eight dogs to be present for her photography session. My first thought was wow - that will test our combined skills - hers as a dog trainer and mine as a pet photographer.

But, how good is the result?!  

I feel so proud of this photo as I got all eight dogs and Janina to look at me at the same time and that is no easy task. My previous best achievement was with five dogs and two children and I felt really chuffed with that. Getting eight dogs arranged in a pleasing manner and all looking at me at the same time ... well I feel like I deserve a gold medal. 

Janina was great to work with and she certainly knows how to control the dogs under her care. Eight at once is a challenge though and wisely she had a couple of friends along to help organise the dogs while she and I positioned ourselves. Their assistance was invaluable and it would have been ten times harder without them. You move one dog and those already perfectly arranged tend to move too so each time you want to alter something you pretty much have to start from scratch. But as you can see from this photo we eventually got there.

I also had a friend and colleague, Leanne Temme, along to take some shots of me with the dogs. You can check out the result on the About Us page. I love the photo and have had lots of compliments about it on Facebook.

Janina is not only a great dog trainer, she is also skilled at baking cakes. She brought along two on this shoot and our team and the dog parents certainly all enjoyed her thoughtfulness. Delicious!

Anne commented on 09-Nov-2010 09:40 AM
What a great effort on both your parts. Must be wonderful to be able to control so many dogs at once, many people can't manage one properly. The photos are great and if we had a dog I sure would be interested in a sitting for it.

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